What the Swami Said

Feeling out of sorts, I headed over to the carnival
that had just arrived in town, for a bit of cheering up.
But when feeling down, I learned, it’s not a good idea
to head off to the carnival alone. I felt so ridiculous
standing in the lines I couldn’t even make it to the rides.
When I won the ring toss game I was too embarrassed
to pick out a stuffed animal. Shamefully, I stuffed
my face with deep-fried Oreos and watched the happy
couples and the families as they happily walked by.
Funny, how if I’d watched the same scene in a movie
it probably would’ve perked me up, but being there
it made me wretched. Unwilling to write the day off 
however, I gave my last five dollars to the carnival swami
who fell into a trance the second he slipped the bill
into his pocket. This is what he told me: “When a tarsier
catches a bat in midflight the outer confines of space
contract three inches. If you mumble while greeting
someone on the stairs then you’ll later engage in an
impassioned if largely unsatisfying tryst. If you dream
for two fortnights of powerful magnets then someone
you know is pregnant with a steam locomotive or semi-
historical naval ship. An itch in your right shoulder
means you’ll soon receive heedless adoration veiled as
polite contempt. An itch in your left shoulder, however,
is likely just an itch. Squirrels in the attic are a sign
that your children’s lives will be lacking any form of
cohesive narrative as they’ll be incapable of realizing
every fact is an omen worth consulting carefully. Crossing
your arms in bed means opportunities will arise in your life
and each one will strike you dumb. When three people
speak at once whoever has the deepest voice will be
reborn a cuttlefish. If you grind your teeth when lost
in thought it shows you’ve recently beaten someone
to within an inch of life while you were fast asleep.
If wrapped in tree bark before they’re buried, the dead
can talk to us in whispers through the trees. When you hear
hummingbird’s wings, your house collapses. And if you
cross paths with a plastic bag in a cul-de-sac then, friend,
you’d better run like hell.” All of it was true.

Sean Burke lives in Dover, NH. He has work published or forthcoming in Now Culture, Pear Noir, Jellyfish, Strange Machine, and Glitterpony.